Crunch time: how to avoid low-speed parking accidents

How to avoid parking prangs

The car insurance industry estimates there are more than 1,000 low-speed collisions in the UK every day. Yet despite the shortage of speed, the average repair bill for these accidents tops £1,500.

According to GEM Motoring Assist, it’s partly to do with the size of parking spaces, and the size of cars we try to squeeze into them.

Legally, a parking space can be between 7ft 6in and 8ft 10in wide, but most are closer to the minimum. Compare that with the width of a typical family hatchback, and you have less than 10 inches either side of the car to work with, for both parking and getting out.

How to avoid parking prangs

How to avoid parking prangs

Happily, we have a guide to avoiding parking prangs, with some tips from GEM Motoring Assist.


The first thing you should do, when it comes to driving in general, is make sure your mirrors are set correctly. Maximise what you can see and you’ll be a better driver – and a better parker.

Spacial awareness

Cars come in all different shapes and sizes, so familiarise yourself with your vehicle. Know where its extremities are, and learn what it can do in terms of turning radius. 

Take your time

Parking safely is more important than doing so quickly. Plan your journey and allow time for parking. Aim to travel at times you know it won’t be busy. Have in your mind exactly where you’ll be able to park as easily as possible. Don’t fight others for spaces, either. That’ll just put pressure on and increase the likelihood of a prang.

How to avoid parking prangs

Use what you’ve got

Gadgets like parking sensors and reversing cameras can be a godsend. Make good use of them, and you can turn from a parking pariah to a space-saver overnight.

Clear view

Make sure all your windows, mirrors and cameras (if you have them) are nice and clean, for ease of use. It’s no good having perfectly set-up mirrors if they’re rainy or mucky.

Reverse in, drive out

We suspect a great deal of the 1,000+ parking accidents that happen each day are due to people are reversing out of spaces blindly. Avoid this by reversing into your desired space. That way, you get a clear view out when it comes to leaving. If you must reverse out of a spot, do so slowly and carefully, perhaps with the guidance of a passenger or passer-by.